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and what then?

The entombed man must not quit his grave. He might only seat himself at
the window of his tomb, and thence look out on the beautiful, forbidden
world.

What a stately appearance the lady makes as she strolls in her long
white gown across the green sward over yonder! Her long golden hair
falls in glittering masses from beneath her wide-rimmed straw hat. Now
she stops; she seems to be looking for some one. Now her lips open; she
is calling some one. Her form is quite near, but her voice stops over
yonder, a thousand paces distant. The person she calls does not appear
in the field of vision. Now she calls louder, and the listening ear
hears the words, "Dear Ludwig!"

He starts. These words have not come from the phantom of the
object-glass, but from a living being that stands by his side - Marie.

The count sprang to his feet, surprised and embarrassed, unable to say a
word. Marie, however, did not wait for him to speak, but said with eager
inquisitiveness:

"What are you looking at through that great pipe?"

Before Ludwig could turn the glass in another direction, the little maid
had taken his seat, and was gazing, with a wilful smile on her lips,
through the "great pipe."

The smile gradually faded from her lips as she viewed the world revealed
by the telescope - the beautiful woman over yonder amid her flowers, her
form encircled by the nimbus of rainbow hues.

When she withdrew her eye from the glass, her face betrayed the new
emotion which had taken possession of her. The lengthened features, the
half-opened lips, the contracted brows, the half-closed eyes, all these
betrayed - Ludwig was perfectly familiar with the expression - jealousy.

Marie had discovered that there was an enchantingly beautiful woman upon
whose phenomenal charms _her_ Ludwig came up here to feast his eyes. The
faithless one!

Ludwig was going to speak, but Marie laid her hand against his lips, and
turned again to the telescope. The "green-eyed monster" wanted to see
some more!

Suddenly her face brightened; a joyful smile wreathed her lips. She
seized Ludwig's hand, and exclaimed, in a voice that sounded like a sigh
of relief:

"What you told me was true, after all! You did not want to deceive me."

"What do you see?" asked Ludwig.

"I see the water-monster that frightened me. I believed that you
invented a fable and had it printed in that book in order to deceive me.
And now I see the creature over yonder with the beautiful lady. She
called to him, and he came walking on his hands and feet. Now he is
standing upright. How ridiculous the poor thing looks in his red
clothes! He does n't want to keep on his hat, and persists in wanting to
walk on all fours like a poodle. Dear heaven! what a kind lady she must
be to have so much patience with him!"

Then she rose suddenly from the telescope, flung her arms around
Ludwig's neck, and began to sob. Her warm tears moistened the young
man's face; but they were not tears of grief.

Very soon she ceased sobbing, and smiled through her tears.

"I am so thankful I came up here! You will let me come again, won't you,
Ludwig? I will come only when you ask me. And to-morrow we will resume
our swimming excursions. You will come with me in the canoe, won't you?"

Ludwig assented, and the child skipped, humming cheerily, down the tower
stairs; and the whole day long the old castle echoed with her merry
singing.




CHAPTER III


And why should not Baroness Landsknechtsschild take observations with a
telescope, as well as her neighbor at the Nameless Castle?

She could very easily do so unnoticed. From the outside of a house, when
it is light, one cannot see what is going on in a dark room.

This question Count Vavel was given an opportunity to decide.

The astronomical calendar had announced a total eclipse of the moon on a
certain night in July. The moon would enter the shadow at ten o'clock,
and reach full obscuration toward midnight.

Ludwig had persuaded Marie to observe the phenomenon with him; and the
young girl was astonished beyond measure when she beheld for the first
time the full moon through the telescope.

Ludwig explained to her that the large, brilliant circles were extinct
craters; the dark blotches, seas. At that time scientists still accepted
the theory of oceans on the moon. What interested Marie most of all,
however, was the question, "Were there people on the moon?" Ludwig
promised to procure for her the fanciful descriptions of a supposed
journey made to the moon by some naturalists in the preceding century.
Innocent enough reading for a girl of sixteen!

"I wonder what the people are like who live on the moon?"

And Ludwig's mental reply was: "One of them stands here by your side!"

After a while Marie wearied of the heavenly phenomena, and when the hour
came at which she usually went to bed she was overcome by sleep.

In vain Ludwig sought to keep her awake by telling her about the Imbrian
Ocean, and relating the wonders of Mount Aristarchus. Marie could not
keep from nodding, and several times she caught herself dreaming.

"I shall not wait to see the end of the eclipse," she said to Ludwig.
"It is very pretty and interesting, but I am sleepy."

She was yet so much a child that she would not have given up her sweet
slumbers for an eclipse of all the planets of the universe.

Ludwig accompanied her to the door of her apartments, bade her good
night, and returned to the observatory.

Already the disk of the moon was half obscured. Ludwig removed the
astronomical eye-piece from the telescope, and inserted the tellurian
glass instead; then he turned the object-glass toward the neighboring
manor instead of toward the moon. Now, if ever, was the time to find out
if his fair neighbor possessed a telescope. If she had one, she would
certainly be using it now.

It was sufficiently light to enable him to see quite distinctly the
baroness sitting, with two other women, on the veranda. She was
observing the eclipse, but with an opera-glass - a magnifier that
certainly could not reveal very much.

Of this Count Ludwig might rest satisfied. And yet, in spite of the
satisfaction this decision had given him, he continued to observe the
disappearance of the moonlight from the veranda of the manor with far
more attention than he bestowed upon the gradual darkening of the
heavenly luminary itself. Then there happened to the baroness's
companions what had happened to Marie: the women began to nod, whereupon
the baroness sent them to bed. There remained now only the count and his
fair neighbor to continue the astronomical observations. The lady looked
at the moon; the count looked at the lady.

The baroness, as was evident, was thorough in whatever she undertook.
She waited for the full obscuration - until the last vestige of moonlight
had vanished, and only a strange-looking, dull, copper-hued ball hung in
the sky.

The baroness now rose and went into the house. The astronomer on the
castle tower observed that she neglected to close the veranda door.

It was now quite dark; the silence of midnight reigned over everything.

Count Vavel waited in his observatory until the moon emerged from
shadow.

Instead of the moon, something quite different came within the field of
vision.

From the shrubbery in the rear of the manor there emerged a man. He
looked cautiously about him, then signaled backward with his hand,
whereupon a second man, then a third and a fourth, appeared.

Dark as it was, the count could distinguish that the men wore masks, and
carried hatchets in their hands. He could not see what sort of clothes
they wore.

They were robbers.

One of the men swung himself over the iron trellis of the veranda; his
companions waited below, in the shadow of the gate.

The count hastened from his observatory.

First he wakened Henry.

"Robbers have broken into the manor, Henry!"

"The rascals certainly chose a good time to do it; now that the moon is
in shadow, no one will see them," sleepily returned Henry.

"I saw them, and I am going to scare them away."

"We can fire off our guns from here; that will scare them," suggested
Henry.

"Are you out of your senses, Henry? We should frighten Marie; and were
she to learn that there are robbers in the neighborhood, she would want
to go away from here, and you know we are chained to this place."

"Yes; then I don't know what we can do. Shall I go down and rouse the
village?"

"So that you may be called on to testify before a court, and be
compelled to tell who you are, what you are, and how you came here?"
impatiently interposed the count.

"That is true. Then I can't raise an alarm?"

"Certainly not. Do as I tell you. Stop here in the castle, take your
station in front of Marie's door, and I will go over to the manor. Give
me your walking-stick."

"What? You are going after the robbers with a walking-stick?"

"They are only petty thieves; they are not real robbers. Men of this
sort will run when they hear a footstep. Besides, there are only four of
them."

"Four against one who has nothing but a cudgel!"

"In which is concealed a sharp poniard - a very effective weapon at close
quarters," supplemented the count. "But don't stop here talking, Henry.
Fetch the stick, and my driving-coat, into the pocket of which put my
bloodletting instruments. Some one might faint over yonder, and I should
need them."

Henry brought the stick and coat. Only after he had gone some distance
from the castle did Count Vavel notice that some heavy object kept
thumping against his side. The faithful Henry had smuggled a
double-barreled pistol into the pocket of his coat, in addition to the
bloodletting instruments. The count did not take the road which ran
around the cove to the manor, but hurried to the shore, where he sprang
into his canoe, and with a few powerful strokes of the oars reached the
opposite shore. A few steps took him to the manor. His heart beat
rapidly. He had a certain dread of the coming meeting - not the meeting
with the robbers, but with the baroness.

The gates of the manor were open, as was usual in Hungarian manors day
and night. The count crossed the court, and as he turned the corner of
the house there happened what he had predicted: the masked man who was
on watch at the door gave a shrill whistle, then dashed into the
shrubbery. Count Vavel did not give chase to the fleeing thief, but,
swinging his cudgel around his head, ran through the open door into the
hall. Here a lamp was burning. He hurried into the salon, and saw, as he
entered, two more of the robbers jump from the window into the garden.

Count Ludwig hurried on toward the adjoining room, whence came the faint
light of a lamp. The light came from another room still farther on. It
was the sleeping-chamber of the lady of the house. There were no robbers
here, but on the table lay jewelry and articles of silver which had been
emptied from the cases lying about the floor. In an arm-chair which
stood near the bed-alcove reclined a female form, the arms and hands
firmly bound with cords to the chair.

What a beautiful creature! The clinging folds of her dressing-robe
revealed the perfect proportions of her figure. Her hair fell like a
golden cataract to the floor. Modest blushes and joy at her deliverance
made the lovely face even more enchanting when the knightly deliverer
entered the room - a hero who came with a cudgel to do battle against a
band of robbers, and conquered!

"I am Count Vavel," he hastened to explain, cudgel in hand, that the
lady might not think him another robber and fall into a faint.

"Pray release me," in a low tone begged the lady, her cheeks crimsoning
with modest shame when he bent over her to untie the cords.

The task was quickly performed; the count took a knife from his pocket
and cut the cords; then he turned to look for a bell.

"Please don't ring," hastily interposed the baroness. "Don't rouse my
people from their slumbers. The robbers are gone, and have taken
nothing. You came in good time to help me."

"Did the rascals ill-treat you, baroness?"

"They only tied me to this chair; but they threatened to kill me if I
refused to give them money - they were not content to take only my
jewelry. I was about to give them an order to the steward, who has
charge of my money, when your arrival suddenly ended the agreement we
had made."

"Agreement?" repeated the count. "A pretty business, truly!"

"Pray don't speak so loudly; I don't want any one to be alarmed - and
please go into the next room, where you will find my maid, who is also
bound."

Count Vavel went into the small chamber which communicated with that of
the baroness, and saw lying on the bed a woman whose hands and feet were
bound; a handkerchief had been thrust into her mouth. He quickly
released her from the cords and handkerchief; but she did not stir: she
had evidently lost consciousness.

By this time the baroness had followed with a lighted candle. She had
flung a silken shawl about her shoulders, thrust her feet into Turkish
slippers, and tucked her hair underneath a becoming lace cap.

"Is she dead?" she asked, lifting an anxious glance to Ludwig's face.

"No, she is not dead," replied the count, who was attentively scanning
the unconscious woman's face.

"What is the matter with her?" pursued the baroness, with evident
distress.

The count now recognized the woman's face. He had seen her with the lad
who had been his protégé, and who was now a member of the baroness's
household. It was the wife of Satan Laczi.

"No, she is not dead," he repeated; "she has only fainted."

The baroness hastily fetched her smelling-salts, and held them to the
unconscious woman's nostrils.

"Peasant women have strong constitutions," observed the count. "When
such a one loses consciousness a perfume like that will not restore her;
she needs to be bled."

"But good heavens! What are we to do? I can't think of sending for the
doctor now! I don't want him to hear of what has happened here
to-night."

"I understand bloodletting," observed Vavel.

"You, Herr Count?"

"Yes; I have studied medicine and surgery."

"But you have no lance."

"I brought my chirurgic instruments with me."

"Then you thought you might find here some one who had fainted?"
exclaimed the baroness, wonderingly.

"Yes. I shall require the assistance of a maid to hold the woman's arm
while I perform the operation."

"I don't want any of the servants wakened. Can't I - help you?" she
suggested hesitatingly.

"Are not you afraid of the sight of blood, baroness?"

"Of course I am; but I will endure that rather than have one of my maids
see you here at this hour."

"But this one will see me when she recovers consciousness."

"Oh, I can trust this one; she will be silent."

"Then let us make an attempt."

The result of the attempt was, the fainting maid was restored to
consciousness by the skilfully applied lance, while the face of the
assisting lady became deathly pale. Her eyes closed, her lips became
blue. Fortunately, she had a more susceptible nature than her maid. A
few drops of cold water sprinkled on her face, and the smelling-salts,
quickly restored her to consciousness. During these few moments her head
had rested on the young man's shoulder, her form had been supported on
his arm.

"Don't trouble any further about me," she murmured, when she opened her
eyes and saw herself in Vavel's arms; "but attend to that poor woman";
and she hastily rose from her recumbent position.

The woman was shivering with a chill - or was it the result of extreme
terror? If the former, then a little medicine would soon help her; but
if it was terror, there was no remedy for it.

To all questions she returned but the one answer: "Oh, my God! my God!"

The baroness and Count Vavel now returned to the outer room.

"I regret very much, baroness, that you have had an unpleasant
experience like this - here in our peaceful neighborhood, where every one
is so honest that you might leave your purse lying out in the court; no
one would take it."

The baroness laughingly interrupted him:

"The robber adventure amused more than it frightened me. All my life I
have wanted to see a real Hungarian robber, of whom the Viennese tell
such wonderful tales. My wish has been gratified, and I have had a real
adventure - the sort one reads in romances."

"Your romance might have had a sorrowful conclusion," responded Count
Ludwig, seriously.

"Yes - if Heaven had not sent a brave deliverer to my rescue."

"You may well say Heaven sent him," smilingly returned the count; "for
if there had not been an eclipse of the moon to-night, which I was
observing through my telescope, and at the same time taking a look about
the neighborhood, I should not have seen the masked men enter the
manor."

"What!" in astonishment exclaimed the baroness; "you saw the men through
a telescope? Truly, _I_ shall have to be on my guard in future! But,"
she added more seriously, lifting from the table the count's
walking-stick, toward which he had extended his hand, "before you go I
want to beg a favor. Please do not mention the occurrence of this night
to any one. I don't want the authorities to make any inquiries
concerning the attempted robbery."

"That favor I grant most willingly," replied Count Vavel, who had not
the least desire for a legal examination which would require him to tell
who he was, what he was, whence he came, and what he was doing here.

"I can tell you why I don't want the affair known," continued the
baroness. "The woman in yonder is the one of whom I wrote you some time
ago - the wife of Ladislaus Satan, or, as he is called, Satan Laczi.
Should it become known that a robbery was attempted here, the villagers
will say at once, 'It was the wife of the robber Satan Laczi who helped
the men to rob her mistress,' and the poor woman will be sent back to
prison."

"And do you really believe her innocent?"

"I can assure you that she knew nothing about this matter. I shall not
send her away, but, as a proof that I trust her entirely, shall let her
sleep in the room next to mine, and let her carry all my keys!" To
emphasize her declaration, she thumped the floor vigorously with Vavel's
iron-ferruled stick.

Involuntarily the count extended his hand to her. She grasped it
cordially, and, shaking it, added: "Don't speak of our meeting to-night
to any one; I shall not mention it, I can promise you! And now, I will
give you your stick; I am certain some one at home is anxious about you.
God be with you!"

At home Count Vavel found Henry on guard at the door of Marie's room,
his musket cocked, ready for action.

"Did anything happen here?" asked the count. "Did Marie waken?"

"No; but she called out several times in her sleep, and once I heard her
say quite distinctly: 'Ludwig, take care; she will bite!"

* * * * *

Count Vavel could not deny that his fair neighbor had made a very
favorable impression on him. In astronomy she had taken the place of the
moon, in classic literature that of an ideal, and in metaphysics that of
the absolutely good.

He had sufficient command of himself, however, to suppress the desire to
see her again. From that day he did not again turn his telescope toward
the neighboring manor. But to prevent his thoughts from straying there
was beyond his power. These straying thoughts after a while began to
betray themselves in his countenance and in his eyes; and there are
persons who understand how to read faces and eyes.

"Are you troubled about anything, Ludwig?" one day inquired Marie,
after they had been sitting in silence together for a long while.

Ludwig started guiltily.

"Ye-es; I have bad news from abroad."

Such a reply, however, cannot deceive those who understand the language
of the face and eyes.

One afternoon Marie stole noiselessly up to the observatory, and
surprised Ludwig at the telescope.

"Let me see, too, Ludwig. Are you looking at something pretty?"

"Very pretty," answered Ludwig, giving place to the young girl.

Marie looked through the glass, and saw a farm-yard overgrown with
weeds. On an inverted tub near the door of the cottage sat a little old
grandmother teaching her grandchildren how to knit a stocking.

"Then you were not looking at our lovely neighbor," said Marie. "Why
don't you look at her?"

"Because it is not necessary for me to know what she is doing."

Marie turned the telescope toward the manor, and persisted until she had
found what she was looking for.

"How sad she looks!" she said to Ludwig.

But he paid no attention to her words.

"Now it seems as though she were looking straight into my eyes; now she
clasps her hands as if she were praying."

Ludwig said, with pedagogic calmness:

"If you continue to gaze with such intensity through the telescope your
face will become distorted."

Marie laughed. "If I had a crooked mouth, and kept one eye shut, people
would say, 'There goes that ugly little Marie!' Then I should not have
to wear a veil any more."

She distorted her face as she had described, and turned it toward
Ludwig, who said hastily: "Don't - don't do that, Marie."

"Is it not all the same to you whether I am ugly or pretty?" she
retorted. Then, as if to soften the harshness of her words, she added:
"Even if I were ugly, would you love me - as the fakir loves his Brahma?"

* * * * *

Ludwig continued his correspondence with the learned Herr Mercatoris. He
always dictated his letters to Marie. No one in the neighborhood had yet
seen his own writing. Therefore, it would have been impossible for him
to ask the pastor anything relating to the baroness without Marie
knowing it. In one of his letters, however, he inquired how the mother
of the lad he had once had in his care was conducting herself at the
manor, and was informed that the woman had disappeared - and without
leaving any explanation for her conduct - a few days after the eclipse of
the moon. The baroness had been greatly troubled by the woman's going,
but would not consent to having a search made for her, as she had taken
nothing from the manor.

This incident made Count Vavel believe that the woman had secretly
joined the band of robbers, and that there would be another attempt made
sometime to break into the manor.

From that time the count slept more frequently in his observatory than
he did in his bedchamber, where an entire arsenal of muskets and other
firearms were always kept in readiness.

One evening, when he approached the door of his room, he was surprised
to see a light through the keyhole; some one was in the room.

He entered hastily. On the table was a lighted candle, and standing with
his back toward the table was a strange man, clad in a costume unlike
that worn by the dwellers in that neighborhood.

For an instant Count Vavel surveyed the stranger, who was standing
between him and his weapons; then he demanded imperiously:

"Who are you? How came you here, and what do you want?"

"I am Satan Laczi," coolly replied the man.

On hearing the name, Count Vavel sprang suddenly toward the robber, and
seized him by the arms. The fellow's arms were like the legs of a
vulture - nothing but bone and sinew. Count Vavel was an athletic man,
strong and powerful; but had the room been filled with men as strong and
powerful as he, and had they every one hurled themselves upon Satan
Laczi, he would have had no difficulty in defending himself. He had
performed such a feat more than once. This evening, however, he made no
move to defend himself, but looked calmly at his assailant, and said:
"The Herr Count can see that I have no weapons; and yet, there are
enough here, had I wanted to arm myself against an attack. I am not here
for an evil purpose."

The count released his hold on the man's arms, and looked at him in
surprise.

"Why are you here?" he asked.

"First, because I want to tell the Herr Count that it was not I who
attempted to rob the baroness, nor were those thieves comrades of mine.
I know that the people around here say it was Satan Laczi; but it
was n't, and I came to tell you so. I confess I have robbed churches;
but the house which has given shelter and food to my poor little lad is
more sacred to me than a church. The people insist that I was guilty of
such baseness because I am Satan Laczi; but the Herr Count, who has
doubtless read a description of my person, can say whether or no it was
I he saw at the manor."

With these words he turned his face toward the light. It was a very


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